One of the most convenient and well known hikes in Rio de Janeiro is Morro da Urca (more famously known as the first part of Pao de Acucar).
Hike Morro de Urca for awesome views, easy to moderate difficulty, and another FREE activity in Rio. It also gets you halfway to Pao de Acucar, one of the most famous attractions in the city.
From Leme beach, it is about 30 minutes walk to Praia Vermelha. (You can also use the easy and convenient bike share program for a faster trip)
Praia Vermelha – turn and walk along this paved path towards the hill
When looking at Praia Vermelha (facing the ocean), turn left and walk to the very edge of the beach.
There, you will see the entrance to Morro da Urca’s trail.
It’s free to enter and open from 6am-6pm every day.
There were lots of people, and it felt very safe and “in the open”
The first part of the trail was paved (you can take the paved trail to a different end, and then turn back if you don’t want to take the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca), and had gorgeous views of the sea.
While on the paved trail, an option to take a dirt trail to your left appears with signposting. This is the trail to the top of Morro da Urca.
If you decide to take this trail, I highly recommend wearing sneakers with good grippings (my sneakers were a bit too slippery) or something like Vibrams.
You definitely won’t regret the exertion, because you’re greeted by monkeys throughout the trail, and by more beautiful views.
Once you’ve reached the top of the dirt trail, you can take the floating tram to the top of Pao de Acucar (be sure to buy your tickets at the Praia Vermelha tram station before starting the trail, you can NOT purchase tickets at the top of Morro da Urca).
Or, you can stick around for some great beach views, and enjoy the (relatively) quiet.
view from the top of Morro da Urca, near the tram station
From Leme Beach, to Praia Vermelha, up the paved trail, through the dirt hiking trail, and back down all the way to Leme Beach, the total trip time is about 3-4 hours.
If you’re especially fit and you’re more interested in a brisk pace and a good workout than relaxing and taking in the views and some photos, you can probably do the whole thing in under 3 hours.
I would NOT recommend the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca for the elderly or for children. I saw some groups trying to do it, and they didn’t look especially pleased. It is quite steep and slippery.
What is your favorite hike in Rio de Janeiro? Have you ever tried Morro da Urca?
For some reason, I didn’t make it to hike Morro da Urca until I’d already been living in Rio for 7 months… especially silly because it’s a short walk from my house. Don’t be like me – take advantage of the awesome, free hike awaiting you.
Interested in other hikes in Rio? Morro do Leme is another convenient, easy hike walking distance from the beach.
Gorgeous! I’m really hoping to get to Rio during the time I have left in Sao Paulo state for some hiking.
You definitely should! Rio has some GREAT hikes
Hey,thanks for an tip and good description of the tour!
I just went up there with my 60yo reasonably fit mom. If you aren’t really unfit it should be possible for most people I guess.
You CAN buy a ticket on top of morro do urca to continue to the pao de acucar! I would even strongly recommend you to do so as it is half the price from up there!
Hi Michael! Thanks for the information, that’s a big change from when I visited! Glad to know they’ve instituted that – it would have helped us a lot!